- 22 May 2019
Date received: 23 Apr 2019
Date responded: 22 May 2019
You asked for a copy of all correspondence, minutes and discussions, between the Scottish Government and the Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation (SSMO) over the last 12 months regarding the operation of the SSMO, its effectiveness and any requests the Scottish Government has made of the SSMO.
As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.
This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.
I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested.
Some of the information you have requested is already publically available:
- SSMO accounts: https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/SC191506
- SSMO regulations: https://www.ssmo.co.uk/site/assets/files/1/ssmo_regulations-1.pdf
- SSMO Spatial Management Plan maps: https://www.ssmo.co.uk/maps
- SSMO 2019 board meeting dates https://www.ssmo.co.uk/news/ssmo-meeting-dates-2019
- Priority Marine Feature: Horse Mussel Beds: https://consult.gov.scot/marine-scotland/priority-marine-features/supporting_documents/Review%20of%20PMFs%20outside%20the%20Scottish%20MPA%20network%20%20FINAL%20%20Horse%20mussel%20beds.pdf
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because exceptions under regulations 10(5)(e) (confidentiality of commercial or industrial information) and 11(2) (third party personal data) of the EIRs applies to that information. The reasons why these exceptions applies are explained in the Annex to this letter.
Reasons for not providing information - Annex
Regulation 10(5)(e) – confidentiality of commercial or industrial information
An exception under regulation 10(5)(e) of the EIRs (confidentiality of commercial or industrial information) applies to some of the information you have requested. This exception applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the confidentiality of commercial and industrial information provided by the Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation and thus cause substantial harm to their management interests.
This exception is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open and transparent government. However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the commercial and industrial interests of organisations such as the Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation so that they may develop fisheries management policies and carry out their management operations.
Regulation 11(2) – third party personal data
An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (third party personal data) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exception is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House